This graphic shows why the Afghanistan war is getting worse after 17 years

US military advisers from the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade sit at an Afghan National Army base in Maidan Wardak province, Afghanistan, on August 6, 2018. James Mackenzie/Reuters

  • The war in Afghanistan is nearing its 17th anniversary and a new graphic suggests the conflict has reached its deadliest point in years.
  • Data from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program suggests the total number of battle deaths in Afghanistan, including civilians and combatants on both sides, will surpass 20,000 in 2018.
  • The fact the war is becoming increasingly intense suggests the US military will not be pulling out of Afghanistan anytime soon.
  • The US currently has roughly 15,000 troops in Afghanistan and only five US soldiers have been killed there in 2018 so far, as the death toll on Afghan troops and civilians is rising.

The war in Afghanistan is nearing its 17th anniversary and a new graphic suggests the conflict has reached its deadliest point in years.

Data from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program suggests the total number of battle deaths in Afghanistan, including civilians and combatants on both sides, will surpass 20,000 in 2018.

Graeme Smith, a political analyst and former political affairs officer for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Kabul, Afghanistan, said on Twitter this means “the war may be growing more intense than anything since the 1980s.”

In total, five US soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan in 2018. This is a far-cry from America’s deadliest year in the war, 2010, when 499 US soldiers were killed. Overall, roughly 2,414 US troops have been killed in Afghanistan since the war began in 2001 following the 9/11 terror attacks, according to the tracking site iCasualties.org.

But the fact the war is becoming increasingly intense from a broader standpoint suggests the US military will not be pulling out of Afghanistan anytime soon, a move that would risk toppling the government. In short, there’s no end in sight to this conflict or America’s role in it.

The US currently has 15,000 troops in Afghanistan after the Trump administration decided to increase America’s footprint in the country by several thousand last year.

Despite the increase in US troops in Afghanistan, the situation there has not improved.

There continues to be fierce fighting against the Taliban in Afghanistan and it currently controls or contests nearly half of the districts in the country as tenuous efforts to establish peace talks have done little to change things on the ground.

ISIS has also emerged as a threat in the country and last week claimed responsibility for a brutal attack that left 34 students dead at an educational facility in Kabul.

Despite the present situation, Gen. John “Mick” Nicholson on Wednesday claimed there’s “an unprecedented opportunity for peace now” with the Taliban.

Nicholson, who will soon be replaced as the top US general in Afghanistan, also praised Trump’s strategy in the region and argued the allied effort in the wartorn country is making progress.

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